Police are keen to quash rumours that have spread on social media sites that dog thieves are targeting the Mansfield and Mansfield Woodhouse area.
The force issued a statement after details emerged on Facebook that potential thieves had been knocking on doors around the area, masquerading as charity workers.
A spokesman said: “Nottinghamshire Police is aware of rumours spreading on social media of men going door-to-door in the Mansfield area attempting to steal dogs.
“It appears suspicion is falsely falling on a group of individuals who are going door-to-door on behalf of the charity, Scope, in an attempt to raise money.
“There are around six individuals carrying out this work in Mansfield at the moment. Nottinghamshire Police has spoken with them, checked their credentials and their reasons for going door-to-door and confirmed this is genuine, legitimate and legal.
“They are certainly not looking to steal dogs.”
But Sutton resident Sharon Chillery says one resident, who lives near the Sunnydale pub in Mansfield Woodhouse, had been targeted by dog thieves.
Two men cold called at a house, the occupant purposely did not answer but her two dogs began barking.
The occupant then spotted them scratch two marks into her gate as they left, which is thought to indicate that two dogs lived there and allow other members of the gang to return later to steal them.
Mrs Chillery said: “People say it’s an urban myth, but it’s not. They are being stolen to order.
“Those with animals should check to see if there are any marks on their gate.
“These animals are then taken away and used as bait for blooding fighting dogs.
“Their mouths are taped up and the fighting dogs tear into them. It’s disgusting.
“It’s happening in this area, and people need to keep their pets safe.”